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More Than 60 Percent of U.S. in Drought
More than 60 percent of the United States now has abnormally dry or drought conditions, stretching from Georgia to Arizona and across the north through the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin, said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
An area stretching from south central North Dakota to central South Dakota is the most drought-stricken region in the nation, Svoboda said.
"It's the epicenter," he said. "It's just like a wasteland in north central South Dakota."
CALIFORNIA Heat wave was state's deadliest
The number of deaths linked to California's record-breaking heat wave is up to 126, making the hot spell the state's deadliest in at least five decades, officials said Friday.
The latest figures from county medical examiners show 69 deaths that were definitely caused by the nearly two-week heat wave and 57 more that are presumed to have been the result of hot weather, said Roni Java, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Emergency Services.
"This is unprecedented," Java said. "We don't have any records of this kind of loss of life."
Yes, the planet is heating up...Hottest year on record; more to come
Northern California, withering under last week's punishing heat, wasn't the only hot spot in the world this year -- thermometers have spiked throughout much of the United States, Canada and Europe, and scientists are predicting more intense, longer and more frequent heat waves in the future.
While leading climate scientists have been reluctant to link regional heat waves with rising temperatures in the world's atmosphere and oceans, they say the recent weather patterns are consistent with computer projections for global warming.
In the United States, the first six months of 2006 were the hottest recorded in more than a century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center. Canada reported the hottest winter and spring since it started keeping track about a half-century ago, while England, Germany and France are sweltering, and the Netherlands is recording the hottest month since temperatures were first measured 300 years ago.
Dry and Desperate
A severe drought is inflicting hardships across Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Farmers are forsaking crops and selling shriveled herds of cattle. Cities are considering water restrictions, and food prices are rising.
Ugly bugs get the hots for Scotland
RISING temperatures are bringing exotic - and sometimes dangerous - new insects and reptiles to the shores of Britain, with black widow-like spiders found in Helensburgh and scorpions nesting in Liverpool.
As Scotland sweltered in the heat last week, amid growing evidence of global warming, experts warned that the creatures, together with larger numbers of snakes and lizards, were here to stay. One said: "Batten down the hatches, things are going to get interesting."
Probably the most alarming development has been the arrival of scorpions, which appear to be moving north after becoming established in port cities such as Liverpool and Southampton. Arriving on cargo boats, the arachnids set up home in dockside walls. Soaring temperatures are now helping them to survive for much longer periods.
Heatwave with a global grip
IT looks like being the hottest July on record but Britain is not alone in experiencing extreme conditions, write Jonathan Leake and Alex Delmar- Morgan.
Hot, arid weather is afflicting millions in America and in dozens of countries across Europe and parts of east Asia.
The phenomenon has surprised meteorologists who are used to seeing drought as a regional, not global, problem. This weekend they said early analysis of the hot weather, together with the size of the areas affected, suggested it was linked to global climate change.
Breaking the ice
The 12,000 historic photographs taken over the last century in Glacier National Park speak volumes about the rugged beauty of the Northern Rockies, where glaciers carve majestic peaks and icy blue pools run deep and clear.
Stored in the archives at Glacier Park, the pictures form a record of the 20th century, one that turned out to be the warmest in the last 1,000 years. It was, the photos show, a century of change.
Glaciers that took millennia to build are now vanishing with the summer sun. Within the next half century, scientists believe, the park’s name may do little more than conjure up scenic images of Glacier’s past geology.
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Heatwave shuts down nuclear power plants
The European heatwave has forced nuclear power plants to reduce or halt production. The weather, blamed for deaths and disruption across much of the continent, has caused dramatic rises in the temperature of rivers used to cool the reactors, raising fears of mass deaths for fish and other wildlife.
Spain shut down the Santa Maria de Garona reactor on the River Ebro, one of the country's eight nuclear plants which generate a fifth of its national electricity. Reactors in Germany are reported to have cut output, and others in Germany and France have been given special permits to dump hot water into rivers to avoid power failures. France, where nuclear power provides more than three quarters of electricity, has also imported power to prevent shortages.
The problems have come to light just weeks after Britain declared it will build a new generation of nuclear power stations, prompting opponents to claim the crisis proved nuclear reactors - although they emit no carbon dioxide greenhouse gases - are not the solution to the problem of global warming.
The last of California's summer wine?
The lush vines of California are among the most iconic images of America, with the perfect climate between the baked Central Valley and the cool Pacific coast enabling the area take its place as one of the great success stories of the boom in new-world wines.
The industry is worth billions of dollars a year and has starred in its own movie, the wine-buff-midlife-crisis road-trip hit Sideways. But just as American wines from the now famous Napa and Sonoma valleys and other enclaves have established their place at the world's top tables, a new report has warned that global warming may destroy the industry.
The study forecasts that by the end of this century up to four-fifths of the best vine-growing areas will no longer be able to grow their premium grapes because of the steady rise in very hot days, when temperatures pass 35C. And with California now in a state of emergency because of a two-week heatwave in which temperatures have soared to 49C, and which has been blamed for killing more than 120 people, the wine industry faces an imminent crisis, says Dr Noah Diffenbaugh, one of the study's authors. Such a dramatic change would affect wine drinkers around the world - especially those in Britain, which imports more wine from America than from Chile, South Africa or Spain.
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Rare Whales Appear off Scotland, Heat Wave Blamed
Unusually large numbers of dolphins and whales have been sighted off the eastern coast of Scotland this summer, including several species that are rare in these waters.
Scientists believe the sightings may be the result of the heat wave currently gripping the U.K.
The sea around Aberdeen (See U.K. map) is teeming with minke whales and white-beaked dolphins, observers report. More than 40 white-beaked dolphins were sighted on one occasion.
Dunes hint at origins of ancient American drought
Nebraska's famed Sand Hills region - a vast area of undulating grass-covered dunes, punctuated by river canyons and waterfalls - was a dust-bowl a thousand years ago. It turns out that shifting winds plunged the region into a severe drought and created what is today the largest formation of sand dunes in the US.
Tree rings and archaeological measurements show that a severe drought gripped the western side of what is now the US between AD 1000 and 1200. To determine what caused the drought, Venkataramana Sridhar of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and colleagues studied the Sand Hills. These long, linear dunes would once have been mobile, but are now covered with vegetation that prevents them shifting. Optical luminescence dating, which reveals when minerals were last exposed to sunlight, showed that the dunes were last "active" between 1000 and 800 years ago.
Midwest, Plains Hit by Blowtorch Heat
The blowtorch heat that blistered California last week gripped the Midwest on Monday, prompting communities to throw air-conditioned buildings open to the public and endangering millions of people with outdoor jobs - including NFL players in training camp.
Temperatures throughout the Midwest and Plains exceeded 100 degrees. The heat index, a measure of temperature plus humidity, climbed as high as 110 in some places. The National Weather Service issued heat warnings for such cities as Chicago, Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, and Tulsa, Okla.
RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RAPID CITY SD
1115 PM MDT SUN JUL 30 2006
...ALL TIME RECORD HIGH TIED IN WESTERN SOUTH DAKOTA TODAY...
...NUMEROUS DAILY HIGH TEMPERATURE RECORDS SET TODAY IN WESTERN
SOUTH DAKOTA AND NORTHEASTERN WYOMING...
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Near 100-Degree Heat Fries Eastern U.S.
The eastern United States is in for another day of steamy weather Thursday and the sweltering heat isn't expected to break until a cold front forces temperatures down into the 80s this evening, the National Weather Service said.
Heat warnings were posted from Massachusetts to South Carolina and in parts of Oklahoma. Since Sunday, authorities have confirmed heat played a role in at least 13 deaths and may be related to seven more.